New Year, Norovirus, and Me

by VivaLasViejas 11,656 Views | 47 Comments Guide

And to think 2013 started out on such a high note. I was so glad to see the old year go that I forgot what waited for me at work the next day: a building full of elderly people, thirty-five of whom were sick with the notorious stomach bug. And then......I too went down like a sack of potatoes.

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    New Year, Norovirus, and Me

    Ever notice that your values change when you're throwing up?

    "I don't care about my new $200 shoes.......BLAAAARGH!"

    Lord, I hate being sick. Especially THIS kind of sick. It's been four or five days (I've lost count) and I still feel like death warmed over, but I think I may be on the downside of this thing. Maybe. The thunder and lightning in my tummy have ceased; I've even been able to eat a little, although my "meals" would make a fashion model's plate look like a banquet. But I'm no longer certain of my immune system, which used to fight off the squirrels in the backyard, and now has betrayed me despite constant hand-washing, mask-wearing, and glove-donning. I am weakened and humbled.....and I still can't stay up for more than half a day without needing a three-hour nap.

    Did I mention that I hate being sick?

    There is perhaps nothing on earth that can bring a person to his/her knees faster than a dose of norovirus. From the hour on Thursday morning when the first symptoms struck with the force of a hurricane, to the time when I realized I'd gone most of the day without exploding from one end or the other, I pondered what weak vessels we humans really are. It takes a whole sneeze's worth of virus particles to give us a head cold; Norwalk requires a mere 20 particles to make us so ill that we find ourselves praying for death as our bodies reject everything we've even THOUGHT of eating for the past week.

    Relief, such as it is, can only be found in sleep (preferably promethazine-enhanced). After the first few bouts of emesis---the second of which occurred on the shoulder of Interstate 5 between work and home---the Phenergan kicked in and I proceeded to sleep for about 18 of the next 24 hours. Somebody, my husband or son I suppose, woke me in the middle of the night to ask if I wanted to eat or drink something; I think I might have swatted at them and told them where to go and how to entertain themselves when they got there. But I don't remember for sure. I imagine they'll tell me when I'm well enough to hear about what a rhymes-with-witch I've been.

    Finally, yesterday I dragged my sorry carcass upstairs to the land of the living, where the lights were too bright and the TV too loud, but where there were people and warmth and the computer. That tiny burst of something resembling energy didn't last long, but I managed a couple of posts here and on Facebook, where I let my friends know that I was alive, if not well. Then it was time to hit the hay again......I don't care how strong you think you are, this thing really wipes you out!

    As I was drifting off to dreamland, I wondered how my residents were doing and whether anyone else had come down with it; on impulse I called the building and found out there were five new cases among the residents, as well as two more staff who were ill. It was enough to make my poor outraged stomach lurch anew as I thought of the paperwork I was facing when I got back to work......IF I ever got back.

    Later, I watched the local news and was instantaneously outraged by a story on the "stomach flu" that's going around and why flu shots are ineffective against it. I wanted to throw my L.L. Bean slippers through the TV. How in the Sam Hill is the average layperson supposed to know what "flu" is---and isn't--- when they're getting this misinformation from newscasters who obviously haven't done their homework??!

    Today, I'm marginally better, if nowhere near where I wanted to be by this time. I managed to get a piece of toast and a cup of coffee to stay down; tonight I may get even more adventurous and try some soup and crackers. Woo-hoo. The only good thing I have to say about any of this is that I've probably dropped a few pounds....there must be SOME reason my pajamas are hanging looser and my kid wants to know if I've lost more weight.

    Yes, I've come to believe that the Norwalk virus is the great equalizer---it strikes both the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the strong and the frail---and it turns us all into shivering, quivering blobs of human Jell-O.

    I'd write more, but I have this sudden and overwhelming need to seek a horizontal surface......preferably with soft blankets and a pet or two to keep these achy old bones warm. Stay well, my friends. zzzzzzzzzzzz
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 7, '13
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    VivaLasViejas joined Sep '02 - from 'The Great Northwest'. Age: 55 VivaLasViejas has '17' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psych'. Posts: 25,165 Likes: 36,316; Learn more about VivaLasViejas by visiting their allnursesPage


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    47 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    Feel better.
    Esme12, prmenrs, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  5. 4
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    Ever notice that your values change when you're throwing up?

    "I don't care about my new $200 shoes.......BLAAAARGH
    Best quote EVER!! And yes, I agree, I would do anything not to throw up. Or be any kind or form of ill. AND I turn into a blubbering idiot. Full on tears. Like THAT is going to help any......not.

    Feel better!!
    Esme12, Twinmom06, poppycat, and 1 other like this.
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    Noro is a quick one. I bet you are still out of gas and need to get your lytes and fluids back up. When you do, you will feel better!
    Esme12, poppycat, and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    Ugh, it hit me at 0100 last night. Had to call in ( that made them real happy). Hope you feel better soon. I am hoping I do too.
    Esme12, multi10, jadelpn, and 2 others like this.
  8. 3
    Icky!!!! Hope you are better soon.
    Esme12, poppycat, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  9. 7
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    Ever notice that your values change when you're throwing up?

    "I don't care about my new $200 shoes.......BLAAAARGH!"
    This! This! This!

    Sweet heaven, I just had acute onset explosive carbonated citrus rhinorrhea.

    Although I hope you feel better, if catching Ebola makes you this entertaining, a dark little part of me hopes you never recover so long as you continue to turn out amazing moments such as the one highlighted above.

    Alas, feeling better is a must. Take care of yourself, lady.

    ~~CP~~
    teeniebert, Esme12, NutmeggeRN, and 4 others like this.
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    I work in a facility that has about 70 residents,about one month ago We got a very VERY bad case of the noro virus more than half the staff got sick at least half the residents got sick and some were between 4-6 residents became so ill and weak they actually died. I personally took care of several and was one of the lucky few not to get the virus. We have actually had 14 residents pass away in the last two months from various illnesses are cenus is some were around 60 now . so needless to say its been a rough start to winter
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  11. 7
    Quote from CheesePotato
    This! This! This!

    Sweet heaven, I just had acute onset explosive carbonated citrus rhinorrhea.

    Although I hope you feel better, if catching Ebola makes you this entertaining, a dark little part of me hopes you never recover so long as you continue to turn out amazing moments such as the one highlighted above.

    Alas, feeling better is a must. Take care of yourself, lady.

    ~~CP~~
    And I just about had an involuntary personal urine spill in my drawers!! Too funny!!
    teeniebert, Esme12, Twinmom06, and 4 others like this.
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    OH! I hope u feel better SOON!!! And I never know how bad I actually feel until the Phenergan and IVF kick in. I hope that u are back to normal asap.

    For some reason at our house, if I get sick, dh says "Oh, come on. Can't be THAT bad." (And yes, he is also an RN)

    Now, if HE catches same thing, whether it be GI, resp, whatever, you hear the phrase repeatedly -"Babe, I'm dying."

    Anne, RNC


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